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An Inkster School Grade 3/4 class
took a trip to the Middle Ages after building their own sprawling castle in a
The castle, which features a
working drawbridge, a throne room, an armory and even a dungeon, was made out
of cardboard boxes and other recycled materials.
Along with tapping their skills in
visual arts and architecture, students embraced their acting skills and took on
various roles in the castle.
“We learned more about medieval
times and how people lived without modern innovations,” said student A.J.
Guerrero, who as luck would have it, got to be king of the castle. “I’m at the
top of the rich chain.”
The seven-week project had students
actively using the “4 C’s” of the 21st Century: creativity, critical
thinking, communication and collaboration.
“Building the castle allowed all students to collaborate starting
with design, material organization, building, painting, decorating, fixing and
acting,” said teacher Shelagh McGregor. “Many things surprised me having never
taught this unit before. First I couldn’t believe how many curriculum
connections this castle offered for learning. Science (structures), Social
Studies (ancient societies), math (such as measurement and shapes), and
Language Arts (including writing scripts, research, role play and readers
theatre) and art work.”
Students also incorporated a
technological element, embedding QR codes throughout the castle. As other
students toured the classroom, they could access the codes with their digital
devices to watch further educational content.
The project also taught students
about perseverance while pursuing a long-term goal.
“It helped us learn from our mistakes,” said Natalie Thiessen, who
was the castle’s queen. “The dungeon kept falling down but we would build it up
The project culminated with a
medieval feast in June. Students invited their families to enjoy finger foods
(eating in the same manner people ate in medieval times) and watch
entertainment that included a battle tournament, readers’ theatre, jokes and
Ultimately, the castle project
proved to be engaging to every single student in the classroom.
reflections showed me that each learner enjoyed something different from the
project, which is an example of why we need different entry points to engage
the variety of students in our classrooms,” Ms. McGregor said.
With files from Shelagh McGregor and Inkster School